What are the Basic Principles and Characteristics of Existentialism Philosophy of Education?

The term philosophy has been derived from two Greek words- Philo means “love” and Sophie means “wisdom”. Philosophy means love of wisdom. Education is a part of philosophy. Education and philosophy differ in nature. While education is practical, philosophy is theoretical. Education is a planned activity with aims and goals of its own. As said by Thomas Ogwara,

“Philosophy points out to the society what. . . is to be achieved through education.”

Philosophy helps in determining how the goals can be achieved. Philosophy sets goals and education works on fulfilling them. Philosophy is crucial in education as well as in life. 

According to Existentialism, every individual is unique and responsible in creating their own life. Education must cater to the individual needs and interests. It will enable individuals to develop their personal qualities and use their potential to the fullest extent. Education makes individuals ready for the future and prepares them for what’s to come ahead. 

As Kneller said,

“ If there is anything that the existentialist teacher can do for his learners, it is to bring them to a more critical analysis and understanding of the meaning and purpose of existence, so that with time men may become more than a mere repetitive creature perpetuating the bestial habits of his similar ancestors”.

Principles of Existentialism 

  • i). It helps in the all round development of an individual.
  • ii). It helps in making an individual self sufficient and self dependent which will help in their development.
  • iii). It helps children to recognize their potential and utilize it to the maximum. 
  • iv). It enables sense in students of what is right and wrong, and good and bad to make the right choices in life. 
  • v). It helps students to realize their needs and interests.
  • vi). It makes students figure out their weaknesses and work towards improving it.
  • vii). It works in helping in the character formulation and strengthening the personality of children.

Characteristics of Existentialism 

  • i). It develops positive traits in children such as kindness, compassion, humanity, honesty, and respect. 
  • ii). It adopts discipline and obedience in children to develop positive intentions and proper behaviour in them.
  • iii). Existentialism helps children to understand and value the traditions, culture and heritage of the nation. 
  • iv). Existentialism fosters moral and ethical values in the children for the welfare of the society. 
  • v). Existentialism philosophy helps in leading a good life by making one’s life choices by self. 
  • vi). Through this, education helps an individual in understanding their roles and responsibilities in the society. 


Education is an important tool in the growth and development of a person. It helps humans in adopting acceptable behaviour and understanding their role in the society. It is through education that an individual learns discipline and the basic etiquette needed to behave as a responsible citizen of the society. Educational philosophies help society and people in the development of each other.